The best chance that Donald Trump, the brand, has to remain relevant is through some form of Trump TV or network, but not necessarily a start-up operation.
That is according to a Brand Keys survey conducted Oct. 19-27, among 1,812 self-identified Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. The study looked at four categories where the Trump name still "resonates." It examined the four categories where the Trump name as what the researcher calls "Human Brand-efficacy"--TV/Entertainment, Golf & Country Clubs, Hotels, and Real Estate--and found that the only category showing more rather than less brand efficacy was "TV/Entertainment."
The survey found that about 20% of the sample said they would "definitely/probably" tune in to such a channel (41% of Republicans, 15% of independents and 7% of Democrats).
Brand Keys designated Trump a "Human Brand" back in 1991, meaning he could translate his name into the perception that it increased the value of products and services. But since his turn toward politics, that brand has been devalued in a number of areas.
"It’s difficult for one brand, even one as strong as Trump’s, to operate successfully in the consumer and political arenas simultaneously," conceded Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys president.
The value of the Trump name on "clothing, suits, ties, watches, and jewelry," vanished, said the company, with the exception of MAGA hats and t-shirts, which survey respondents classified as ‘"political statements’ rather than traditional clothing."
But TV/Entertainment remains a potential marketing vehicle, Brand Key said, though the "lift" to that category came from Republicans.
Brand Keys points out that when Trump ran four years ago against Hillary Clinton, it was assumed he would parlay an expected loss into a Trump TV cable channel, peculation that has resurfaced with his his loss this time around.
“Trump’s efficacy as the ‘Entertainer-in-Chief’ has already been demonstrated. Cable news network ratings have hit record levels since he became a candidate,” noted Passikoff. “And remember Trump was already a TV star as the host of The Apprentice.”
Passikoff concedes that launching a cable network is problematic given cord-cutting. “It would be more viable for Trump to acquire an existing channel that caters to his conservative followers or to sign on as a program host at an established network,” said Passikoff. “Trump’s tweets reveal he already believes he is personally responsible for Fox News’ dominance in the ratings, although it has been the most-watched cable news source since 2002." Trump is currently pushing Newsmax and One America News Network, for example, having had a falling out of sorts with Fox News.
Passikoff said that a Trump TV show could also help revive faded categories.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.